Artificial intelligence (AI), simulation of human intelligence by machines, has become part of our daily lives. We are conversing with Alexa, getting rides from self-driving smart cars, receiving recommendations on music and movies, and playing games against computers. But what about applying AI in buying homes or renting offices?

Real estate seems to be a few steps behind when it comes to technology adoption, even though it is the largest asset class in the world, contributing $3.5T to the US GDP. But there are early signs that AI is already part of our home buying and office renting experience.

At Birdnest, we are seeing a growing demand from our customers for a better and faster experience. On the other side, we are seeing a growing number of brokers who want to start adopting technologies to provide a better experience. Here are three AI trends that every real estate broker should know.

Alexa, Answer the Call

A new study reveals that 48% of buyer inquiries never received a response and that the average response time from a broker was 917 minutes. In another study, 93% of buyers rated responsiveness as a very important quality. Brokers know this, which is why they usually team up on a deal so that when they’re busy, their colleague can respond to the inquiry. But what if no one is available? Enter the “Siri’s for real estate,” who are always available, 24/7.

OJO Labs, an Austin based startup who has raised $71M, is developing a real estate chatbot that answers potential clients’ questions about listing information via text message.

Like most people, I had a mixed chatbot experience. When I asked about HOA cost, it gave an accurate answer within 2 minutes. But when I asked a more open-ended question, “Is the neighborhood safe?” it didn’t understand.

Chatbot

Given that almost half the buyer inquiries never received a reply, this will certainly help brokers capture some of those leads. And with their recent acquisition of WolfNet, they have access to millions of additional data points to improve their algorithm. Their main competitors include Structurely and Keller Williams’ Kelle.

The Crystal Ball

Wouldn’t it be great if you can predict who will list a home or who will buy a home soon? When every broker is looking for that extra edge to win a deal, nothing is more important than having that crystal ball!

Rex, a Los Angeles based startup with over $70M in funding, is using AI to predict buyers who are most likely to buy a specific home. It sends out targeted ads based on who it thinks the likeliest buyers are. Then based on who clicks on the ad, it targets similar customer segments in future ads. In addition, the computer uses data from retailers and businesses to further improve its accuracy.

First, a North Carolina based startup with over $7M in funding, analyzes a broker’s contacts to “identify how much more likely than average your contacts are to sell in the next year.” During the pilot period with @properties, First predicted over 1,800 homes that listed during that period.

Reevaluate, another startup that predicts who is most likely to move within the next 3-6 months, claimed they have a 36.4% accuracy rate by analyzing over 200 data points, from spending habits to social news and more.

Goodbye Paperwork

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Time is money.” This couldn’t be more true for real estate brokers, and one of the tasks that suck their time is paperwork.

Imagine how much time is spent entering information about a space, like its lighting, room types, kitchens to name a few. Thanks to Restb.ai, AI can automatically populate this information by analyzing a property’s photos. Its technology can classify images into 30+ homes scenes, recognize 16 architectural styles, and instantly tag 30+ valuable home features. Recently, MRED has partnered with Restb.ai “because it will save time and reduce hassle,” according to MRED CTO Chris Haran.

Leverton, a Berlin-based startup with $17M in funding, reads and extracts key information from corporate documents, leases, and contracts. All the broker has to do is to upload his documents, then AI starts to extract key information like “rent charges” and allow brokers to quickly search this information. For brokers, this means more insights in less time, a key reason JLL signed a partnership with them.

AI is here to assist brokers, not to replace them. AI technology is here to help a broker be more responsive. To save them time from paperwork so they can spend more time finding the right space for their clients. They are here to empower brokers to provide the ultimate experience for their clients and bring meaning to the statement that “real estate is a relationship business.”

Nick Jiang

Nick is the Cofounder & CEO @ Birdnest, a curated, visual place for startups to find their dream office. Prior to Birdnest, Nick had grown venture-funded startup Shots to over 10M active users. Duke MBA, Princeton Engineering.